Seafood like crabs and prawns are sometimes hard to find, and if they are readily available, they can be a bit expensive, too. However, if you are able to find a great bulk bargain from your fishmonger, don’t be afraid to buy in big quantity. You can preserve the freshness of your seafood using a vacuum sealer. The FoodSaver V3240 machine is a recommended brand and model. It is a usual countertop vacuum sealer that can be operated manually, but remains user-friendly. Its vertical design makes it a nice-looking addition to the kitchen, without having it take too much counter space. It has built-in roll holder and cutter making it convenient to use. Since seafood may vary in size, it is more economical to customize your own bags, than using the pre-cut ones.
Benefits of vacuum sealing seafood
Suppliers of seafood like shrimp, fish, crabs and shells are able to give good prices to restaurants, like a Japanese restaurant, because these establishments buy their seafood in bulk. You can have that option, too, and enjoy your favorite seafood without having to pay a big price for it. However, since seafood perishes faster than meats, there has to be an effective system to preserve it.
Freezing it directly can preserve it, but not for too long since your food is not totally protected from contact with air. If there is oxygen, bacteria can thrive and food spoils. Here are the top benefits if you vacuum seal seafood before storage:
- Freshness is locked in. The seafood will not dry up;
- Quality is locked in;
- Flavors are locked in, if you already add spices to your seafood;
- Your freezer will not smell like fish or prawns;
- No freezer burn;
- You can already package your seafood into one-serve sizes so you don’t have to defrost a big bag, and end up re-freezing half of it.
Here are freezing tips for seafood in general:
- Put the freezer at its coldest temperature. It is best to freeze seafood rapidly. Doing it slow will develop ice crystals inside the flesh of the fish;
- Keep temperature constant. Fluctuations in temperature adversely affect the quality;
CRABS. Recommended that the meat be removed from the crabs. One, the shell may puncture the vacuum sealed bag. Second, the shell will take up much space in the freezer. Third, it is faster to cook crab meat already taken out of the shell.
OYSTERS. Remove the meat from the shells.
SHRIMP. You may opt to remove the heads and shells. However, some opt to have the flesh remain in the shells. Either way works.
You are ready to enjoy your seafood, maybe a shrimp salad, or a crabmeat omelet. Thaw the right way.
- If rapid freezing works best for seafood, rapid thawing is also recommended. Thaw the vacuum sealed bag of seafood under running cold water;
- Keep the seafood inside the bag while thawing. Direct contact with water may affect quality and lose the flavors;
- You can also soak the sealed bag in a container with cold water;
- Expect it to be thoroughly thawed in 10 minutes. If the bag you used is thicker, it may take a few more minutes longer;
- You may thaw the seafood overnight by transferring it from freezer to refrigerator, but this is a form of slow thawing, and the liquid drip may cause your seafood to be a bit dry;
- Don’t thaw in room temperature. It will breed bacteria;
- Don’t use hot water to thaw. It will inadvertently start the cooking process.
Seafood is very versatile to cook. It can be broiled, included in a salad, made into a soup or fried. It also makes great ingredients for Japanese food, like crab in sushi or shrimp in chili sauce. Thumbs up!